Nottingham Playhouse launch pen pal scheme for the isolated

A newly-launched scheme called Playhouse Pen Pals will encourage creatives from across the East Midlands to send letters, stories and drawings to the vulnerable and elderly.

The idea came as part of the Playhouse’s plans to ‘go digital’ and continue supporting the groups and communities it works with on a day-to-day basis – despite Covid-19 closing the doors of theatres across the UK.

Beginning with its creative writing groups and freelancers, it is hoped that many other budding writers, illustrators, musicians, poets, playwrights and novelists will step up and send notes to elderly and vulnerable people – many of whom have been socially isolated for longer than most of the public.

Credit: Drew Baumohl

In the effort to keep the system safe and online, people will be asked to send photos of their work through their phone – or scan if they have equipment available to them. Then, bundles will be sent via email to care homes or hospital wards for them to print and distribute. Every effort will be made to ensure the pieces are personalised and directed to a specific person.

Martin Berry, Head of Participation at Nottingham Playhouse, said: “Here at Nottingham Playhouse we see this challenging situation as a powerful opportunity to support and engage with our communities.  In particular we have been designing ways to engage with the most isolated and vulnerable in our city.  This Pen Pal scheme is a great way for people to communicate, feel less isolated and make some new connections.  Our digital schemes have been so well received so far and I’m delighted we can make this happen.”

If anyone wants to be a pen pal for the scheme, or if you work for a home or ward and want to receive bundles from Playhouse Pen Pals, head to: nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/participation/community/playhouse-pen-pals/

More information about Nottingham Playhouse, its reaction to coronavirus and its autumn productions can be found at: www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk, or to donate to Nottingham Playhouses new Curtain Up Fundrasing appeal, go to: nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/support/curtain-up-appeal/

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